How I became a Confessional Professional

Last one – A Confession.

Every parent I run into lately is worrying about their child’s first penance.  Mine still stands out clearly in my mind to this day.

Waiting in the glaringly shiny, highly polished pews – clasping my sweaty palms together.  Nervously trying to sort out what I was going to say.  Rehearsing the dialogue in my head because I was SURE I was going to forget my speaking part.  This, officially, ended my acting career mind you.  All this going through my mind while staring at the ornately carved door that led to the  tiny, dusty, spider filled room.  I was hyperventilating just thinking about it.  I was truly freaking out!

My turn.  Oh.  No.

The priest opens the door to peer at me through that baroque wooden screen.  What could I have possibly done wrong to be forced into this miniature torture chamber?  I was all of seven years old.  As old as my youngest is now.  The worst thing he does is not go to sleep on time.  I was much more, ahem, rambunctious than he is, but still?  I was seven, give me a break.

I look up and freeze.  Yup, just as I suspected  – he can see me.

“Bless me father for I have sinned.  This is my first confession.  I…I…I….”

And then I did it, I lied in the confessional.  I don’t even remember what I said.  I do remember thinking that whatever it was I did do, I couldn’t possibly tell this priest what it was.  Because, let’s face it, that wooden screen was not doing it’s job of giving me anonymity as I already mentioned.  He knew darn well that it was me on the other side of that screen.  He knew my name. He knew my sister.  He knew my aunt.  He knew all of their friends.  How could I tell him the truth? This was some kind of trick they were trying to play on me.  Was there a camera in the corner filming me like in Candid Camera?  Was that guy going to jump out and fill me in on this cruel joke?

No jack in the box for me.  This was real!  Then, I couldn’t stop myself.  The lies kept coming and coming and coming.  Finally, my tongue started to feel swollen and my throat felt like it was filled with sawdust.  The words finally got stuck there and halted.

Phew.  That wasn’t so bad.

Is that all child?

Umm…yeah.

I got off pretty easy I thought.  I didn’t go to hell and my palms were finally dry.  My penance.  It was something like ten Our Fathers and three Hail Marys.  All for LYING to him.  It was absurd, and I knew it. He must have known I was lying.  Didn’t he?  Maybe not.  I could get good at this.

Go in Peace.

I always made up for it by asking for forgiveness for whatever it was that I thought I did wrong.  I’d look up at the statue of Joseph on the side altar staring down at me while I was reciting my Our Fathers and tell him what it was I really did – which, like I said, what could it have been I was only seven.  I’d double whatever the penance was just to put a band-aid on the guilt I was feeling and just for good measure in case everything about going to hell if I didn’t confess my sins was really true.

I find the whole topic cringe worthy to this day.  I realize my experience is not the same or even close to being the same as everyone elses,  but it was mine.   I became a confessional professional after that.  I still had anxiety about going into that dusty cubicle, but I never worried about what I was going to say during confession again.  I knew something would come to me.

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Baciami …

I find the next three meme challenges, well, challenging.  I could take the easy way out and get all deep and dirty into my physical proclivities, but I won’t.    Aww.  Stop, I can hear a few of you all the way over here! I’ll give you one and that’s it.

When you put your mind to it, there are so many ways in which a person can be turned on…there is the spiritual aspect of it.  The ecstasy.  And, yes, I chose my words carefully there – “the ecstasy”.  Various saints and martyrs who have reached that height of awareness, or ecstasy, were constantly brought up to the eager ears of my fellow Catholic School comrades.  The subject matter was titillating, to say the least, while we sat raptly listening all buttoned up and tucked in to our homogeneous uniforms.  I didn’t “get it” until I was an adult.  One of the more famous references is to the Ecstasy of St. Theresa, immortalized by Bernini.

The information out there on ecstatic encounters, ecstatic prophecy, ancient ecstatic religions is just mind blowing.   Okay, I’m going to stop right there.  I fell down the internet induced psychotropic rabbit hole this morning on this subject matter and it’s time to come back from my trip.   What can I say, I have a thirst to learn and I find religious origins fascinating.  It really comes down to the cultures that surrounded the religion at the time of  inception.  I should have been an Anthropologist, this is becoming more apparent the older I get.

Anthropologist:  1. The scientific study of the origin, the behavior, and the physical, social, and cultural development of humans.
2. That part of Christian theology concerning the genesis, nature, and future of humans, especially as contrasted with the nature of God: “changing the church’s anthropology to include more positive images of women” (Priscilla Hart).

But I digress, I really feel that what turns a person on is an infinitely evolving aspect of ones self.  From my teens to being almost *gasp* forty my “turn ons” per se, have varied greatly.  Some years I was attuned to who I was and what I wanted.  I even, on occasion, have found that proverbial pot of gold, but most days I wake up grasping for that thing that’s going to make me tick and run smoothly like a well oiled machine.  And, let’s face it, I mentioned the boredom thing before, so keeping me in tune can be daunting.  So, for now…

Three Turn Ons

1.  Kiss me.  Well.  I mean really well.

2.  Creativity.  I am fully entrenched in the Cultural Diversity event that I am in charge of each year.  I’m a month out.  This event flutters through my thoughts year round and this is the time frame in which I gather all my loose ends and ideas and bring them to fruition.  I change it up as best I can to keep us all interested while trying to hold on to it’s original principles.  This is only one aspect of my creativity but it’s my largest end product at the moment.  In general, when I’m creative, my juices flow and I’m one step closer to being right with the world.

3.  Strength.  If I feel strong, physically, mentally and emotionally life is good and I’m open to anything.  But let’s face it, that’s a problematic task to lay at anyone’s feet.  I’ve caught glimpses of it before – it’s nice.  I know the things I have to put into place to make this happen but I don’t always hit my mark on meeting my own needs.  Meditation is a big one.   Physical activity, ie yoga, karate, weights, etc. is a close second.  That ecstatic encounter reference, although I really got off on a tangent there, has a lot to do with it.  I believe in one’s chi being aligned and the chakras being in balance.  Yes, I do.  That comes together when everything else I’ve said falls into place.  Not too much to ask.

That all being said – the biggest thing – I shouldn’t take myself so seriously – I know!